Month: July 2020

Major “green” event of the summer in Almaty: what the Botanical Garden is after the reconstruction

The Central Botanical Garden openedon 15 June after reconstruction. The entrance was free of charge for the whole week so that residents of Almaty and guests of the city could see with their own eyes how the territory was transfigured. At that time, volunteers, curators and employees of the Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction were on duty in the garden.

The project was initiated in 2018 by Kazakh businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov, who funded it through his charity foundation. The total cost of reconstruction was 15 million dollars. The aim of the project was careful restoration of the Botanical Garden with preservation of the integrity and distinctive character of its territory, modernisation of infrastructure andmultiplication of the green fund.

Shortly before the opening, on 12 May, the Central Botanical Garden was visited by the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, as part of his working trip to Almaty. The head of state got acquainted with the results of the reconstruction.

“We took the implementation of this project very seriously so that to not only preserve the green fund of the garden but also to multiply it, enriching it with new collections. Careful restoration and use of advanced technologies are the two main principles which we were guided by. We put our souls and hearts in this project, did our best for the renewed botanical garden to catch fancy of the Almaty residents. This is our gift to the city which is presented altruistically: the garden will stay in the state ownership and will continue its scientific activity,” said Bulat Utemuratov.

Most of the funds spent on the reconstruction went to the purchase of plants to restore and multiply the green fund of the Botanical Garden. All seedlings were imported from Europe, from nurseries in Germany and Poland. Over 1,300 trees, about 3,000 rose bushes, and about 130,000 cereals and perennial grasses were planted.

A new fence was installed around the perimeter of the Botanical Garden during the reconstruction; these measures and a video surveillance system should help stop vandalism.

“Smart”Botanical Garden. What’s this?

Thespecialattentioninthecourseofthereconstructionwasgiventothe “smart” irrigation of plants and introduction of electronic technologies in the park territory. The irrigation ditch network in the garden has long fallen into disrepair, and the two existing wells have long ceased to provide water to the garden.

As part of the reconstruction, the irrigation and watering system was restored. Two new artesian wells were drilled with a capacity of 40 cubic meters per hour each, the throughput capability of the two existing wells was increased from 20 to 25 cubic meters per hour. A water intake was built from the Kerenkulak River, flowing on the southern side of Al-Farabi Avenue.

In order to turn the Botanical Garden into a modern, comfortable and environmentally friendly public space, its open areas were radically revised. Three new entrance pavilions were erected here. Visitors can get into the garden from Timiryazev Street, from the Atakent Exhibition Centre, as well as from Al-Farabi Avenue. All pavilions are made of natural materials, they have electronic ticketing systems and the inherent infrastructure of tourist and public places – souvenir shops, small cafeterias, toilets.

ThebestmanagersoftheVernyCapitalGroupofCompanies were involved in the implementation of this project.

Now the garden is ennobled and expanded to 27.7 hectares of public areas, 50,000 square metres of roads and paths were repaired, along which 1,500 lanterns were installed, and garden furniture (250 benches) was renovated. In the northern parterre, the pavement was replaced with natural stone, a “dry” fountain and a pond with aquatic plants were created. The wasteland was turned into the southern parterre with three ponds, a pergola, a field of mixed herbs, maple, linden, birch and pine alleys.

“Reliance on local resources”. How the Narxoz University manages to graduate Ministers and Harvard Master’s degree students

Narxoz is one of the oldest universities of Kazakhstan. It was founded back in 1963 as the institute of economics, currently Narxoz implements over 50 programmes of a wide range at all levels of education: Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s. For these years, over 150,000 people graduated from Narxoz, many of them hold executive positions in government entities.

Narxoz in the prestigious Times Higher Educationrating list

Only two Kazakhstani higher education institutions managed to be included in the University Impact Rankings, which from last year has been published by British magazine Times Higher Education (THE). Forthefirsttimeintheworld, THE proposed to appraise higher education institutions by the level of their influence on the sustainable development of the society and their contribution to achievement of goals in the sustainable development sectors set by the UN.

AhistoricallystrongbaseallowstheUniversitytopreparetheexclusivecadreforbusiness,economy, managementandlaw. Beingprofessionalsintheirfields, nowNarxozgraduatesholdthehighestpositionsinthestateandcorporatesectorsoftheeconomy – fromtheMinisterofFinance to leaders of theForbes list in Kazakhstan.

On 18 May, thePresident’sdecreeappointedYerulanZhamaubayev, NarxozUniversitygraduate, to the position oftheMinisterofFinanceoftheRepublicofKazakhstan. HebecamethesecondMinister – graduateofNarxozwithinthe current Government – after BakhytSultanov, the Minister of Trade and Integration, who has a diploma in economics. AnotherNarxozgraduate – AlibekNurbekov–became Master’s degree student at Harvard. He got the prestigious Edward A. Mason programme scholarship and is studying Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. And these are just very few stories of success out of hundreds.

New strategy-2025as adaptation to the online reality

Education at the Narxoz University is guided by international standards and practices, says Professor Stanislav Buyansky, Acting Rector, PhD in Law. The reality is that it was these standards that underwent changes in the context of the pandemic and quarantine – education went online, affecting the strategy of Narxoz too.

“Today, many unexpected external factors, such as, for example, the coronavirus pandemic, can impede the implementation of short and medium-term tasks. In a situation when many universities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia are forced to weaken their positions by reducing staff and closing branches, the Narxoz University can not only profile itself as a university with a high level of crisis management, but also show active development, opening of new academic programmes regardless of the circumstances. We strive to position the University as an educational institution that can guarantee a successful career after graduation, even against the backdrop of an economic crisis,” says Buyansky.

Narxoz has adopted a new strategy: by 2025 theUniversity, usinginnovative approaches to education, plans to become the centre of attraction for talented youth, the leader in training specialists with managerial competences in economics, business, law and social science in Central Asia. And financial sustainability, high profitability, growth of the university’s position in national and international ratings, growth of the number of applicants up to 1,500 people annually and leadership in the scientific field remain the determinant reference points for development.

“A wide offer of higher education in the market stimulates competition and struggle for each student. Within the framework of this concept, it was decided to focus on the development of three areas of the educational process: firstly, the modernisation of the most competitive and recognised national programmes; secondly, the active promotion of corporate programmes and skills enhancement programmes for government bodies and business entities; thirdly, the development of double diploma programmes with foreign partner universities,” says the Acting Rector.

The University includes four schools by the areas of education, eight research centres, research and educational departments, five representative offices in the regions of Kazakhstan, as well as the college of economics.

Suchprofessionsas “Finance”, “Jurisprudence”, “AccountingandAudit”, “InformationSystems”, “CateringTrade”, “Economics”, “Marketing” and “Management” areincluded in the rating of the best educational programmes in the view of the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs.

“More than money”. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation donated automated Covid-19 laboratories to Almaty and Nur-Sultan

Unique modular laboratory facilities were launched in Nur-Sultan and Almaty to carry out the fast and high-precision PCR screening of people for coronavirus. The unique laboratory, characterised by mobility, a high level of biosafety and automation of the testing process, was given free of charge to the Ministry of Health by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov is convinced that the social responsibility of business should be exercised at any time. Control of Covid-19 in Kazakhstan did not become an exception too, and he wholeheartedly took part in it. The businessman purchased two laboratory facilities for 4 million dollars fromBGI, the Chinese world leader in the field of medical research, production of equipment and consumables for laboratory analyses.

PCRscreeninglaboratoryinAlmaty / Photo by Almaz Toleke

The laboratory is fully equipped for the entire PCR-analysis cycle. Intotal, thefacility consists of 42 items of high-tech equipment and sets of tools for sampling, storage and labelling of biological material, conduction of the trial by the method of polymerase chain reaction. The trial process is fully automated which allows to carry out the test quickly, with high precision and involvement of less specialists.

The laboratory capacity is 1,000 analyses a day, with a potential of increasing it up to 5,000, the test results being ready in 3 hours.  BulatUtemuratov’sFoundationequippedeachlaboratorywithsetsofrequiredagentsfor 30,000 tests for the immediate launch.

“To cope with the infection and to stop it”

Laboratories purchased by BulatUtemuratov allowed for the increase in capacity and potential of the infectious diseases service and the increase in the speed of carrying out trials.

“Laboratories employs killed virologists from branches of the National Centre of Expertise, trained by the BGI company specialists who came from the People’s Republic of China,” said Minister of Health YelzhanBirtanov at the opening of the laboratory in the capital.

Laboratories conduct free screening for unemployed, low-income and multi-child families, people with disabilities, patients older than 50 years, and volunteers and patrollers.

The laboratory system provides a high level of biological safety that meets the WHO requirements, which is not always possible to achieve even in hospitals. As recommended by the manufacturer, the facility is installed indoors for increased stability and safety. The “Kazakhstan”Sports Centre was chosen as the laboratory installation sitein Nur-Sultan, and one of the pavilions of the Atakent Exhibition Centre was chosenin Almaty. If necessary, the laboratory can change its location in one week.

PCRscreeninglaboratoryinAlmaty/ Photo by Almaz Toleke

“One of the main tasksisto maximize the identification of Covid-19 patients, because, as practice has shown, there are those who have the infection without symptoms.While only one laboratory operated in the city at the beginning of the quarantine, today there are six of them, and in the near future we will open additional ones. The laboratory facility for PCR screening, which was given to us by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, will allow us to further increase the number of tests: patients identified at an early stage will receive timely medical care, and the number of potential contacts will be reduced. I express my gratitude for this support”, said Altai Kulginov, Akim of Nur-Sultan.

BGI-manufactured laboratory facilities are currently supplied to many countries of Asia and Europe. Thecomprehensivesolutionis aimed to satisfy the urgent world demand in creation of an infrastructure for the mass coronavirus screening. For the first time, the new development was presented two months ago in Shenzhen (PRC), where BGI is headquartered.

“Mobile facilities will work for free for vulnerable categories of citizens who cannot afford to take the coronavirus test in commercial laboratories. This will help expand the screening coverage, detect the incidence in the early stages, reduce the risk of complications and limit the spread of the virus. Thus, by joint efforts of the state, business and society, we will cope with the infection and will stop it,” said Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Earlier Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, thefirstoneinKazakhstan, brought to the country 94,000 express tests for 200 million tenge and gave them to the Ministry of Health. Apart from the support rendered to the governmental coronavirus screening programme, Bulat Utemuratov transferred 1 million dollars to the “Birgemyz” Pubic Foundation set up at the initiative of the First President – Yelbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev – to counterfeit coronavirus and to support the socially vulnerable groups of population.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was set up in 2014. The Foundation’s mission is to help Kazakhstan to become a better place for the life of people today and in the future through support of the development of health, education and culture.

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